Chocotorta a la Adam

by Matt on December 18, 2009


Oh Chocotorta, how I love you!

I learned of Chocotortas during our last visit to Buenos Aires from Maricela from Pip In The City. I met her through blogging and we immediately fell in love with her gracious hospitality. We had brunch at Olsen, walked around Buenos Aires, and invited her over to our room at Home Hotel for a small party. She brought a chocotorta, a very simple no-bake layered “cake” consisting of chocolate cookies, dulce de leche and cream cheese. Did you get that folks? Cookies, dulce de leche and cream cheese? Needless to say this cake––a favorite of kids and mothers-who-cannot-bake––disappeared in a matter of minutes. Scratch that. Seconds.

“It’s the recipe moms make when they can’t bake. You cannot mess it up” she told me.

Now that really sounds like my kind of dessert. Excluding my adapted alfajores which I have mastered and a few cakes and cookies, I’m still trying to understand baking. When a cake recipe doesn’t require an oven you better believe I’m gonna try that first. Or at least nudge the hubby to try it.


Ok, so here’s the deal. I didn’t seek out to adultify this Argentine dessert. I’m not one of those people who needs to dress something up and make it cute. Nor did I mean to defile or fancy something that was just fine as it was. Because it’s delicious and fun and quick and easy. But after a few emails with Marcela to double check some chocotorta facts it became clear that some macgyvering would be required on my end. I had most of the ingredients for the chocotorta on hand as we stocked up at the supermercado in Buenos Aires but realized I’d be missing one of the filling ingredients. She recommended adapting the recipe and after a quick consultation with my food-styling better half we decided on adding cream to the mixture; it’d be too thick otherwise.

“I have another idea as well. Let’s add booze,” Adam said. In an effort to include more alcoholic beverages to my diet I agreed. Before long Adam was reaching for Kahlua, hazelnuts and a baking sheet and I knew he’d be adding his own touch to the cake. I moved over. I was not about to stand in his way.

Rather than build the chocotorta in a loaf pan Adam worked his food styling magic by creating little individual stacks of kahlua-soaked cookies layered with the cream cheese and dulce de leche spread. They were topped with an impromptu hazelnut brittle and before long these individual chocotortas were gone. And when I say gone I mean that I ate them all. And I’m not even really a sweetfreak. Or so I think.

Maybe it was the booze?


Chocotorta a la Adam
1 can of dulce de leche
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
chocolate cookies, see note
1/2 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur

For The Brittle
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
squeeze of lemon juice
1/2 cup hazelnuts, whole

About the Cookies: We used a brand we brought back from Argentina that are thin, square and not overly sweet. You could use just about any cookie provided it’s the biscuit type and not a big honkin’ sweet one.

Dulce de leche filling:
Beat the cream until soft peaks form. Add cream cheese, dulce de leche and whisk until smooth. You want a very light consistency, quite different from the super thick viscosity of regular dulce de leche.

Hazelnut Brittle:
Grease a cookie sheet. In a skillet cook the sugar, water and lemon juice on high heat until amber in color, remove from the heat and mix in the hazelnuts. Pour the hazelnut mixture onto greased cookie sheets to cool, making sure to spread out the nuts to create individually coated nuts that you can use as garnish. Crumble a few of them to top the chocotorta.

Dunk the cookies in the coffee liqueur, and dunk liberally!  Once soaked pipe the filling in between the cookie layers. You don’t have to do beautiful baby dollops like the photo, you can just use a plastic baggie with the corner cut off to pipe the filling on top. Kind of like a s’more. Once layered repeat until you have a nice little stack. Give them a little time to set as this allows the cookie to become even softer from the Kahlua which makes it a bit easier to eat. Top with crumbled candied hazelnuts.

Because this is a no-bake recipe you don’t need to be exact. Taste along the way, just be careful with the brittle part of the recipe. I have no idea how many this yields because I was too busy eating along the way. And if by chance you oversoak and your cookies become mush (which did not happen to me but I suppose it could), well, tough. It’s still gonna taste good.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul December 18, 2009 at 6:39 am

Oh my… I may be in love right now

Pati Jinich December 18, 2009 at 6:41 am

All I can say is YUM!!! Photos are to die for and can’t wait to try that dessert. Too many good things put together, we will see if they make it to the final round…

Ken December 18, 2009 at 6:58 am

Thanks, I’m always looking for recipes to use my can of dulce de leche. Your beautiful photos makes it even more tempting.

kristina December 18, 2009 at 7:35 am

I love this! especially the first image with the writing.

is that Rina Menardi in the second image?!?!?! sssooooo f i e r c e!!!

Susan December 18, 2009 at 7:37 am

Wow – it’s like Argentinian tiramisu! Yum. Might have to add this to the Christmas menu somehow… Gorgeous photos!

Matt December 18, 2009 at 7:41 am

Kristina, that is indeed the famous Rina Menardi in the photo! Might need you to pimp me out on Highland and Santa Monica a few nights to pay for it though.

Barbara Kiebel December 18, 2009 at 9:51 am

Amazing…beautiful to see and sounds almost too good to eat; almost!

Sil BsAs December 18, 2009 at 10:45 am

Matt, I follow your blog since long and I love it, but this time I have to tell you that this is too cute to be chocotorta and… hazelnuts…no way !! We’re really into the chocotorta business and nothing else is allowed =)
Anyway, nice photos!

Stephanie - Wasabimon December 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Oh man… how awesome to have an in-house food stylist!

And you never said what the missing ingredient was – please share! I’m all about hard-to-find ingredients. The more difficult it is to find, the more satisfying it is once you have it in your hot little hands. I like a challenging adventure.

Helen - Tartelette December 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I love Marcela! She came to Charleston and stayed a short week with us…such a sweetheart, and fun…and an excellent cook/baker!

This makes my tummy and eyes hurt it sounds so good!!

melit December 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Matt,thanks for the recipe.
What brand of dulce de leche did you use and where can I buy it?

camila December 18, 2009 at 7:09 pm

I think it looks great and very tasty too!
I guess you used lincoln cookies, right? we often use chocolinas cookies and we call it “postre de chocolinas”, tough.
and she was totally right, you CAN’T mess it up.. never
it is the easiest dessert we know hahaha
btw, I’m argentinian :)

tiny home December 19, 2009 at 2:04 am

I was not paying attention to the writing, I am sorry about that. I was focused with the two delicious photos! They made my mouth water. They really look so yummy.

marla (Family Fresh Cooking) December 19, 2009 at 5:59 am

Oh my!! These sound sinful and oh so wonderful! Love the hazelnut brittle additon. Chocolate used to be my favorite, but somewhere along the way caramel & dulce de leche started placing first with my taste buds. I think it was years ago when I first tried Haagen Daz dulce de leche ice cream that the transformation happened. great, easy recipe here. Awesome photos and graphics as always!

Natalia December 19, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Matt, this is way too sophisticated to be a chocotorta, but I will consider it poetic licence because it looks absolutely delicious! I have to try your version sometime.

Leslie December 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Thanks so much for this – I am an American living in Argentina and recently had Chocotorta at an asado and loved it. I asked for a recipe and as with most things Argentine was told a list of ingredients with no measurements or specifics! You gave me a great jumping off point – I used Jamaican Rum Cream to dunk my cookies and used a combination of Chocolinas and the Lincoln vanilla cookies used here to make Lemon Pie. My bastardization of all things Argentine continues! Happy Holidays!

lisa (dandysugar) December 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm

This is gorgeous. My friend’s mom visited from Argentina a few months ago and she made something similar–no booze though. I love the kahlua soaked cookies in this–that is a brilliant idea!

amy December 21, 2009 at 12:30 am

The recipe looks great, and easy. Think I will try it for a sweet New Year’s party hors d’oeuvre, thanks!

DianasaurDishes December 21, 2009 at 2:13 am

Wow, those look fantastic! I haven’t heard of Chocotorta but think it could definitely get me in a lot of trouble. Maybe I’ll make it for my husband’s birthday.

Sarah December 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

Made these for a holiday party this weekend… they weren’t as pretty as yours, but still looked great and were a BIG hit! Thanks for the wonderful and delicious idea!

Lissa December 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Jimmy Crickets these look amazing! I’m not much of a sweets person and honestly all the food blog sites are so overladen with sweets recipes because of the holiday season but this stopped me in my tracks! It is beautiful but looks easy enough for me to make it!!! I need to come up with a smaller version for our New Year’s party!

Jasmine December 23, 2009 at 2:58 am

Oh my, this is the most delicious thing I have ever dreamt of! I mean, it’s like seeing all my fav thing in the world, all in the same recipe. I can’t wait to try it!!!

Carrie @ Deliciously Organic December 23, 2009 at 5:34 am

Love this post. The photography is amazing! Dulce de Leche on anything sounds good to me. Merry Christmas!

Marce December 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm

hey, Matt

The chocotorta looks amazing! Leave it up to Adam to make chocotorta look that glamorous! I love the idea of individual versions. As for the kahlua, here it is common to use coffee spiked with Tia Maria (which is also a coffee liqueur), I normally use simply coffee with whiskey, you can use a café con leche mix if you make it for kids as well, the possibilities are endless really.
Oh, and the cookies you bought are called Lincoln, next time you are here, remember, it´s Chocolinas! It´s what people always make them from, as I´m fairly sure the original recipe came from the back of one of their packets, and even nowadays, the Chocolinas come with recipes of different variations on the classic.

Rebecca December 23, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I LOVE Adam’s spiced up version!! We just had the kiddie version at a birthday party recently and Guillermo was bonkers for it. Thanks for inspiring me, I’ll have to try making it now, too! XO and Happy Holidays to you!

fernanda December 24, 2009 at 3:13 am

Yes!!!!! this is the “chocotorta” of my childhood!!!
Well… the presentacion was a little bit diferent but the tast is incredible!
thank you for remind my about it.
Regards, Fernanda

Dawn (KitchenTravels) December 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Get out. Seriously. Get OUT! These look too good to be on my screen. Must, must try this recipe. Quickly.

We have friends in SF who make their own version of dulce de leche by boiling a can of condensed milk for a couple hours. But, I’m too afraid of exploding cans to try that!

Jim December 26, 2009 at 4:53 am

Your typography is exquiste, do you hand letter your post titles? Or is it a font?

Matt December 26, 2009 at 9:24 am

Hi Jim! It’s hand lettering. And thank you!

paola January 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Divina la propuesta de la “chocotorta”, de nena, era mi sueño prepararla, y comerla………mmmmmmmmm….. “el” placer.
Galletitas “CHOCOLINAS”, mojadas en leche, rellenas con dulce de leche y queso crema. Huau!!!!!, lo recuerdo y salgo corriendo a comprar los ingredientes!!!!

Michael Cavinta January 8, 2010 at 11:25 pm

YUMMY!! Thank you very much for sharing with us this great recipe. I have tried making this recipe and it was definitely a hit with our family. I really went well with coffee too. Please share more recipes with us, I am a big fan. Thanks!

Margie January 14, 2010 at 2:26 am

My goodness, this looks easy yet luxurious! I’m gonna have a go at this, but I’ll probably replace dulce de leche with something else as it’s not available here in Indonesia.

Btw, it’s my 1st visit to your blog and I just can’t stop ogling at the gorgeous pictures. Always wanted to do food styling seriously but not sure where to start.


paola January 14, 2010 at 10:57 am

el mejor dulce de leche para hacerla es el de “La Serenísima”, sino lo pueden hacer hirviendo Leche Condensada, y las Galletitas tienen que ser CHOCOLINAS!!!, ES LO MAS TRADICIONAL!!!!

Matt January 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Well we do teach workshops :)

pity February 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

my my my, can’t wait to try this, it really looks divine! love it!
cheers from london

Florencia March 14, 2010 at 6:24 am

Hola Matt, es cierto que la chocotorta es un clásico de la cocina argentina, uno de los postres más populares entre los niños de mi país. Yo también tengo una receta propia… pero de Helado de Chocotorta.
Te envío el link por si lo quieres ver.

Saludos desde Buenos Aires !!!!

Felipe July 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

This is a great classic. Today at work I told I was going to bring the mother of all childhood cakes to the office and everyone automatically said “chocotorta!”.
I like your spiced up version, I was thinking about using some rum with milk for the cookies but now Im thinking about this new version :)
For the people who cannot buy dulce de leche, it’s very easy to make!
Here’s a quick recipe

Morena May 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Hi Matt. I discovered your blog when I was searching for a chocotorta recipe, a few months ago. At the time, my son was working in Buenos Aires and told me so much about this yummy dessert. Love your recipes and your blog…

Emma July 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I tried this recipe but with a tin of nestle top and fill caramel instead of dulche de leche. Lets just say the mixture became SUPER runny and there was no way it was going to do anything but dribble everywhere. I layered them all up into ramekins though and it turned into a delicious ice-cream version. I was a bit disappointed it didn’t turn out like yours but my friends raved! I’ll have to try it again with legitimate dulche de leche ..

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